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Today's Opinions

  • Thank you to volunteer exchange program host family

    This September, a family in Los Alamos enjoyed a special experience by welcoming into their home a high school exchange student from Germany. This volunteer host family is participating in the SHARE! Student Exchange Program for the 2015-16 school year. And this international exchange student is eager to learn about how Americans live.
    I am prompted to write an expression of enormous gratitude to the host family, the high school and community. As the regional director for this program, I have helped local coordinators find the host families and helped them select a student who best fits their family. Local coordinators and our regional office staff will supervise and monitor our families and exchange students throughout their stay.
    There are now several outstanding candidates awaiting host families for the 2016 spring semester. If anyone has thought about hosting, now is an excellent time to start.  Please contact me as soon as possible. This is a great opportunity to SHARE! your heart and home with the rest of the world.

  • State’s new energy policy: We’re all in this together

    For years, New Mexicans have said we’ve got it all when it comes to energy – oil, gas, coal, geothermal, solar, wind – and now we have a new energy policy that reflects this.
    Maybe now we can end the pointless jousting between supporters of renewable and traditional sources.
    Last week, the governor announced a plan developed over the past year by the state Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department after listening to sessions held around the state. The first energy plan since 1991 embraces all sectors and emphasizes jobs, economic diversity and energy independence.
    The big shift is “promoting greater production of ALL sources of energy, especially low-carbon sources,” which the governor’s news release describes as an “‘all of the above’ approach to energy development.”
    What I especially like about the plan is its solid statements of policy backed up by proposals rather than puffery. Here are the key points:
    Building or improving pipelines, electric transmission and rail from the Four Corners to I-40, and adding a third oil refinery.

  • Ordinance does not permit sheriff to compete with police department

    BY GEORGE CHANDLER
    Sheriff, Los Alamos County

  • Good news: Retiree Health Care is solvent for 20 years

    A friend told me, excitedly, that he has been approved for the new hepatitis C drug – the miracle drug that is supposed to cure this disease at a cost of $93,000 per patient. He has started the treatment and so far is doing great.
    I hadn’t known he had the disease. Of course, I’m happy for him.
    I realized later I’m helping to pay for his treatment. He is married to a retired teacher and is probably covered through the Retiree Health Care Authority. So am I. His treatment affects my premiums.  
    RHCA can afford to pay for this. This is good news for everybody in New Mexico, including you.
    RHCA provides health insurance coverage to retirees of New Mexico state and local government and schools. Active employees and their employers contribute a small percentage of payroll to the fund. Once those employees retire, if they choose RHCA for their coverage (before Medicare or in combination with Medicare), they pay premiums into the fund.  
    With tough cost controls and reforms, the program is now projected to be solvent through 2035, according to Mark Tyndall, RHCA executive director. This is a major accomplishment.

  • Education suggestions include residential science high school

    The Domenici Public Policy Conference is about the learning needed for “doing better at what we ought to do as citizens,” said former Sen. Pete Domenici to begin the eight-annual gathering in Las Cruces. The conference started with learning about education policy to build the economy.
    Former North Carolina Gov. James Hunt brought an unvarnished and lengthy recitation of why his state moved from, in the 1950s “tied with Mississippi as just about the poorest state” to, in the 1980s, around the time of Hunt’s 16 years as governor, being the hottest thing in economic development.
    When the work started, North Carolina’s income was 62 percent of the national average. Now it is 86 percent. New Mexico’s is 81 percent. Hunt kindly didn’t mention New Mexico’s link these days with Mississippi at the bottom of state-performance lists.
    North Carolina’s various initiatives worked.
    Born in Wilson, N.C., east of Raleigh, the 78-year-old Hunt was governor from 1977 to 1985 and from 1993 to 2001. He likes policy institutes, having founded two, both of which he still chairs.

  • New Mexico to join national celebration of manufacturing

    BY CLAUDIA INFANTE
    Projects Coordinator, New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership
    Fiance New Mexico

  • The role of sheriff in Los Alamos County

    BY PETE SHEEHEY
    Los Alamos County Councilor

  • Please, no excuses — get your flu vaccine this fall

    It’s that time of year when people come up with all sorts of excuses for not getting a flu shot.
    Often, though, the excuses catch up with them. So, for the benefit of the naysayers, let’s do a reality check and clear up some mistaken notions.
    “Why worry? It’s just the flu.”
    Every year, almost 300,000 Americans land in the hospital as a result of the flu and its complications, and more than 20,000 die from flu-related illnesses. Older adults should be especially wary. They will account for 60 percent of the hospital stays and 90 percent of the deaths.
    During the last flu season, more than 500 New Mexico residents were hospitalized because of flu-related illnesses and 31 died.
    “I got a shot last year. I don’t need another.”
    Even if you were vaccinated last year, you still need another shot this year, since your immunity to flu viruses wanes after a year. Also, the types of viruses usually change from season to season, so a new vaccine is made each year to fight that season’s most likely strains.
    “Last year’s vaccine was ineffective, so why should I think this year’s will work?”